We refer to our center as Polycentric, a phrase that strongly relates to our vision, of a broad, deep and complex network connecting actors from all over the region. The main focus for RCE West Sweden is communicating and networking between previously discrete sections of the community in order to learn from each other and become innovative and action competent. We have emphasized the importance of increasing flows between formal, non- formal and informal learning. Within the region we have a long tradition of working within the ESD field and are confident that we would have substantial findings to share in an international RCE context. The reason for the regional scope – Västra Götaland (West Sweden) – is that it has an established identity; it is big enough to have great variety and small enough to enable close connections.
The formal institutions within the region have served as champions in the international ESD discussion as statements such as the Gothenburg Recommendations demonstrate. The region is also represented in a UNESCO publication launched at the Rio +20 with a model for network based learning for SD, linking formal, in-formal and non formal ESD actors. The non-formal learning, also referred to as folkbildning (bildung) once played, and hopefully again, will play an important trans-formative role in our society. Currently 22% of the population is engaged in this kind of education, while 13% attend university studies. This venerable people´s movements in Sweden, committed to women´s rights, decent work conditions, religious freedom, etc, dates back more than a hundred years. It has felt inpatient with formal institutions that it thinks have not done enough to bring about the changes they sought.. Today a societal transformation towards more sustainable ecological, social and economical futures is the most challenging task for all actors and a lot more needs to be done in West Sweden as well as in the rest of the world. We strive for a combination of know how, formal as well as informal, old as well as inventive and new born, theoretical as well as practical. Thus we seek to integrate local educational traditions with innovative leaning and enterprise, balancing continuity with transformation.